Category Archives: murder

A Kind of Murder

Directed by Andy Goddard, who spent quality time directing Downton Abby episodes, A Kind of Murder follows an obsessed crime novelist, played by Patrick Wilson, who is married to a suicidal wife, played by Jessica Biel. The movie is suspenseful, fascinating along with a captivating storyline that includes twists and turns like an old-fashion movie.

With such a talented cast, I was surprised that the movie’s tempo was slow and not as engaging as it could have been like the novel the movie is based. The novel by Patricia Highsmith, who also wrote other popular psychological thrillers such as Strangers on a Train and The Talented Mr. Ripley.

The movie follows a crime novelist obsessed with an unsolved murder case begins to fantasize about committing a crime of his own. His marriage is an unhappy one, and his desire to be free from his beautiful but damaged wife becomes an obsession. But when his wife is found dead the lines blur between innocence and intent, forcing the question who, in fact, is the real killer?

The movie is a thriller and has a story that should be engaging, but somehow it fell flat in the third act.

Lords of London

lordsoflondonWritten and directed by Antonio Simoncini, Lords of London is about family ties and loyalties being tested.  The thriller takes place in the dark city of London and exotic Italy with lush sunsets and beautiful, colorful landscapes. Ray Winstone (Snow White and the Huntsman) is billed as the star of the movie, but he is not in the movie all the much. Glen Murphy, Giovanni Capalbo (The Passion of the Christ) are the real stars of the movie while introducing Cassius Terence Murphy.

On the Internet, the reviews are not all that great, but the movie won Best Film at Italy’s Abruzzo Film Festival and New York Hell’s Kitchen Film Festival World Cinema.

We follow London gangster, Tony Lord, who is believably played by Murphy. Lord is the son of the notoriously ruthless Terry Lord, who is played very well by Winstone, which is a typical role you will see in other movies like The Departed.  He is a natural gangster while being shown in flashbacks and is not in the movie all that much. The story is about his son Tony, who must confront his father’s past. We see his father being violent and abusive toward his son.  The scenes work in the film because they build the tension of the storyline as a whole.

All in all, Simoncini crafts a well-honed movie through the editing of the film. He cuts from the present to the past, which is very effective as the story unfolds.

Kill Game

Kill GameWritten and Directed by Robert Mearns, Kill Game is your typical low-budget, slasher and whodunit horror movie. Jimmy, played by Nathan Ross Murphy, becomes the first victim. The story meets a small group of close friends, who attend his funeral.  The cast in the small group are Sari Sanchez, Joe Adler, Pierson Fode, Michael Galante, and Laura Ashley Samuels.

They are close because they share a deadly secret that happened five years ago in High School.  They played a prank on a student who died from it.  Covering their tracks by masking the incident as a drowning accident, the group lives with the horrible crime, never realizing that their actions will soon haunt them, with deadly results.

Shortly after funeral, they come to terms that anyone of them may also become a victim.  The reason they believe they are next is because they not only played a prank that killed the student but played some pretty mean pranks on other students and teachers. Yet, they have no idea who the slasher is because they played pranks on a so many people.  Then, Jimmy’s twin brother shows up from out of town attending the funeral, and is trying to uncover what happened to his brother. He has no idea about the deadly prank relating to his twin’s murder.

The movie is hard to follow at times because the clues to the murder are all over the place. The sequence of discovery is not linear or easy to follow. For example, a mask was found, but how did the group relate it to the killer. The clues just didn’t add up like a good murder mystery.

It is obvious this is a low-budget horror movie that is full of clichés and empty on good substance.  I am sure most horror movie junkies will want to see this movie for what it is worth.

12 Rounds 3: Lockdown

12 Rounds 3 LockdownWatching the movie gives no indication of the story being a sequel because it is so different from the previous 12 Rounds movies. The story has different characters and more action.  The other movies follow a man forced to complete a series of tasks within a specific timeframe. Lockdown refers the limited amount of bullets the main character holds in his gun in order to achieve his task in nailing the bad guys.

Directed by Stephen Reynolds, the story follows John Shaw, played by Dean Ambrose, who is a cop.  Shaw just returned from an extensive leave after undergoing a gunshot wound and the death of his rookie partner. Fellow officer Tyler Burke, played by Roger Cross, brings tension to the story because he is a dirty cop connected in a drug dealing venture. Rookie cop Jenny Taylor, played by Sarah Smyth, discovers evidence against Burke and tells Shaw. He investigates and confronts Burke and his team’s connection to drug dealing.

Burke needs to get rid of Shaw because he knows about his dirty dealings with drugs. So, him and his team evacuate and lockdown the entire police building. They are intent to hunt down Shaw and kill him. Shaw only has his revolver with one clip and 12 rounds, hence the movie’s title. That is not all. Shaw has more on his hands than just Burke and his gang chasing him down. He is being set up by Burke, who is making an effort to frame him. Burke is telling Captain Matthews, played by Rebecca Marshall, Shaw is responsible for the homicides during the lockdown. Officer Taylor is also locked in the building and doesn’t know who to believe or trust.

This sequel is comparable to the original Die Hard where there are many shootouts and fist fights.  The movie uses the same old action style, and it is worth watching if you are a huge fan of Dean Ambrose.

Dark Places

darkplacesFrench director Gilles Paquet-Brenner helmed Dark Places as a drama-mystery about an impoverished Kansas City farming family. All but two members of the family were murdered three decades ago. The story is told through Libby Day, played by , while she flashbacks to younger Libby Day, played by Sterling Jerins. Libby and her brother, Ben, played by Corey Stoll, are the two remaining family members from the night of the murders. Ben is serving a life sentence for the murders. The younger Ben is seen in flashbacks played by Tye Sheridan. There are also present circumstances that keep the story interesting. A true crime club that solves crimes and proves those who are wrongly accused innocent. The club is headed by Lyle, played by Nicholas Hoult. The club holds strong evidence that Ben is innocent. It was younger Libby’s testimony that sent younger Ben to prison. Lyle leans heavy on Libby to prove her brother’s innocence. As the movie unfolds, past and present meet and the truth about the night of the murders is unraveled.

Dark Places is based on the book by Gillian Flynn who wrote the bestseller Gone Girl and the screenplay for the same-titled movie. Gone Girl did well at the box office and nabbed some award nominations. Even though Dark Places had a limited release, I thought it played better than Gone Girl because the story seems more real in circumstances and characters. Both stories are intricately folded and twisted, but Dark Places wraps up nicely while Gone Girl leaves a few points and characters entangled.

Theron makes the story believable because she is an outstanding actress.  Like Gone Girl there are minor storylines that drew me in to the film. Paquet-Brenner led the cast with honest acting in a very well paced movie. I am kind of surprised it didn’t have a wide release because it is so good. So, if you see the movie streaming or on the DVD shelf, I suggest you grab it and watch it. You will be entertained.